Monday, June 22, 2009

The Ghost of Garcia Lorca

The day is boiling and Talamanca Bay is like a lake again. Totally flat, not a ripple. I’ve forgotten my sunglasses so am squinting to such a degree that it is giving me a headache. The sun is beginning to descend but hasn’t hit the water yet.

I walk over the rocks and down to the shack.
“Have you got a table?”
“Yes I have.”
“Good, then I’m going for a swim”

I dive in to the crystal clear water and take a moment down there to let the water that has flooded over my body, flood over my senses. It is cool and it is quiet. Up there it is often quiet but rarely cool. Unless you want air conditioning, which I don’t. I come up for air and go straight back under doing somersalts towards the sun with my eyes open whilst blowing the air out through my nose. The sunlight is dazzling underwater but has the quality of being looked at through a telescope backwards.

My 2 minutes of exercise completed, I get out of the water pulling myself out with the steps and boat bars that someone has cemented in place years ago to aid people’s otherwise tricky exit from the water. The useful stainless steel tubes are arch infringers of Costas' 50 metre moratorium and will no doubt be removed. Along with so many excellent chiringuitos along Ibiza’s coastline. Apparently the removal of the chiringuitos is an improvement. Fuck that. Apparently it is Spain's coming of European age. So what? A sanitised Spain is a poor mans Spain. Might as well go to Portugal.

I look up at my favourite joint on the island and know its days are numbered. Men in suits want this place gone. Probably so they can build a bypass to nowhere or an apartment building to hang pretty fluorescent orange for sale signs in.

The Coca-Cola umbrellas are jammed in the places that the awning don’t cover. The table are red and so are the bench seats. The place is humming. It always is. Opens at midday and closes after dark. Always full. But of course it is fucking full. It is right on the waters edge, the food is simple but excellent, there is a feeling of escape. This is Spain. Of course it is full. Some otherwise intelligent person said to me once that the place was unsanitary. Firstly, what the fuck does that mean? How does he reckon the human race survived up to the invention Unilevers cleaning products? And secondly, who gives a fuck? THE PLACE IS EXCELLENT. ALWAYS HAS BEEN. So what if they don’t have running water. Congratufuckinglations is what these people deserve for pulling off such a groovy thing in such difficult circumstances. So what if it does have a toilet? Piss in the sea.

Over at the end there is a family cajoling their two children to eat and then wisely giving up and getting stuck in to their own food and wine. They are sharing a table with a bunch of sextagenarians Deutches who are drunk, loud and have been sitting here since they moved to the sun, the sea, cheap booze and fags 25 years ago. I don’t understand German but I know those blasts of laughter are ignited by humour in its purest form.

On the next table are a bunch of really good looking young Spaniards who have probably not been to bed in 3 days and have an awful lot of sex. The Spanish can really do that party thing. It is as if after Franco’s peaceful death each child was born with a birth rite have a ball. They do it with such panache. I lived near Space for a short horrendous season and marvelled at the difference between my native countrymen and those from my adopted home. The English looked bad at the beginning of the evening anyway but by morning were dribbling, vomiting, trouser wetting shit stains. The Spaniards on the other hand would be smart, still drinking cubatas out the back of their cars, grooving to some noise coming out their car speaker. About to have loads of sex no doubt. Fuckkers.

Next is a table of middle aged spics just enjoying lunch in the way that these people can just enjoy lunch. There is no hurry. There is no agenda. There is just lunch and the sea. The order is taken slowly. The food prepared slowly and then eaten slowly. There is wine throughout. Then coffee and tobacco. Then chupitos and more tobacco. The art of now is being practised.

I'm on the next table and behind me are a couple of really drunk blokes. I think they are Spanish but it is hard to tell they are so drunk. But they are laughing. The are having fun. There is no atmosphere of ‘shit, this could go wrong at any moment.’

A jetski passes by and then starts to do those anything but irritating, must be a right laugh, exhibition circles for our benefit. I catch the owners eye who nods his permission. I open up my brief case and quickly assemble my AK47, take aim and blow his fucking head off. I don’t really. But it’s a nice thought. So, still alive, the squirt fucks off and the waters become calm again. The shack is just over the headland so has constant wave motion, unlike the bay itself but it is still way calm. The waves are more ripples than waves.

Carlos comes over and goes through the list that has not changed in the hundred times I have been here. Seabass, dorade, squid, cuttlefish, tuna, grouper, swordfish, sardines, prawns. Oh yeah and the ever incongruous steak or lamb chops that I have seen people actually order. I order the cuttlefish. It is not the first time and it wont be the last. Hmmmm, but for how long? The cuttlefish will come golden and crisp from the plancha with its, I hesitate to call it, flesh, perfectly cooked and perfectly fresh. They get through so much stuff here, it is always fresh. Everything comes off the plancha. And it always comes perfect. That old woman in there knows her shit. There is something so completely beguiling about white fish flesh glimpsed through the scores made in the now golden skin. The skin of the dorade and lubina is crisp and tasty, almost as good as chicken.

I order a beer which comes with olives, bread and some Dulux with garlic in it. The beer goes down easily of course. And I look out to the bay again. No windsurfers today so of course no kite surfers. No wind. From round the cliffs of Botafoc suddenly emerges the enormous Denia ferry. It ploughs through the tranquil sea with a speed that is breathtaking. It is so big it seems almost impossible that it can go that fast. But it does , its bows cutting a huge wake. Within seconds it has disappeared out of view. I reckon that the boat builders brief was ‘build the biggest Sunseeker you can.” I don’t think the word ferry ever entered their heads so unlike a normal ferry it is.

My sepia arrives crisp and golden as always with its never changing salad. Tomato, onion, lettuce, green pepper and potato. Never varies and is never anything but excellent. You just know that the stuff comes from their cousin or brother or uncle or grandfather and you know it was pulled out the ground about fifteen minutes ago. Round the back there is an old woman peeling potatoes. Continuously. Whenever I walk past there she is, peeling potatoes. The Ibicencos boil them in their skins, the potatoes that is, not the old women, and then peel them. In doing so all the starchy waxiness stays in the potato and is not boiled out into the water. The potato is then dressed in oil and salt and left for us to enjoy. They say simple food is best and they, whoever they may be, are right.

Just as I am about to cut some sepia a huge swell crashes against the rocks. Then another and another. After a few moments the swell that has come out of nowhere dies down and the sea is placid again.

“What the fuck was that?” I said to myself.

One of the really drunk Spaniards sitting over from me says “That, my friend, was the ghost of Garcia Lorca.”


Anonymous said...

Howdie. I loved this - particularly 'the nod' allowing the assembly of the AK!
Hope all well. Jamie S. x

spymurph said...

Well Mark

Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and we'll talk about publishing your story of a mini tsunami... for that is certainly what you witnessed.

Love Sally X

La Grande Bouffe said...

¿te conozco?

¿Alfredo garcia? There she blows


spymurph said...

Some clues for you....

Live at San Quentin....

Bury my bottle of Jack Daniels at Wounded Knee...

Lend me £10 and I'll buy you a drink...

They stole your gun at Manchester airport...

Love Sally. X

Anonymous said...

Jack Daniels?
Wounded knee?

Morris? Morris Fucking Traveller?
I heard you got Younger since last you seen us
Well cut off my arms and call me Venus.
Holy fucking shit. Hello

La Grande Bouffe said...

hello spymurph
you out there?

spymurph said...

I,ve just realised this happened on my birthday! I WAS THE WAVE!! X

La Grande Bouffe said...

enough of this anonymous comment crap. What's your email, stranger?
ps happy birthday
pps write soon
ppps was my prediction true?